"Love is a harsh and dreadful thing to ask of us, but it is the only answer."--Dorothy Day



I do know what I'm doing.

You Belong in Brooklyn

Down to earth and hard working, you're a true New Yorker.
And although you may be turning into a yuppie, you never forget your roots.


Thinking Bloggers.

As I've had the honor of being awarded a Thinking Blogger Award (Thanks JTB!), I do believe I'm supposed to award some myself. But I can't give one to JTB, but I certainly would for her brilliance, but also for the occasional picture of the beautiful Clare. So here it goes....

(1) Joe of Brooklyn and Beyond. It is a part of my morning routine. It is updates on my beloved church. It is sorrow and now joy unimaginable.

(2) Nathan of Someone Like Me Too. Because he's...well...my best friend. Because he has many important things to say, that only he can say. And because he made fun of my blog for months.

(3) Matt of Liberal Jesus. A childhood friend with a very impressive grasp on many things theological.

(4) Minority Report (it's Anonymous...but we know who writes it). An interesting look at the media's relationship to People of Color.

(5) And the greatest of all the blogs....Go Fug Yourself. For giving me something to do at work, and inspiring my friend Brian to spend me pictures of men who make their own shorts (see above).


Three Beautiful Things.

So, Three (or more) Beautiful Things to start out the week...

(1) Ira Hays.

(2) Spending the weekend with friends.

(3) Warm, sunny weather after months and months and months.

(4) My roommate deciding that I should start speaking with a British accent all the time.

(5) Calling a friend to wish him a happy birthday, and finding him engaged to marry.

(6) Thoughtful, but joyful, phone conversation.

(7) High school e-reunions.

You know it's good when you can't be held to only three.


Living in Fear.

This week has been frightening. The shootings at Virginia Tech and the brutal attack of a young woman in the neighborhood where I work have raised my awareness to a degree that I am not comfortable with. I find myself fighting the urge to look over my shoulder as I walk down the street, or to be extra cautious when dealing with my co-workers and patients. Arguing with my boss and the voice in my head, both telling me that you never know who could be dangerous.

I have been told before, by members of my family mainly, that I am not afraid enough. One of the last times I saw my grandmother, she greeted me with "How are you liking New York?" I said, "It's good." She said, "What's it going to take to get to you come back here? Another terrorist attack?" and she laughed. Having been a huge fan of Fox News since it's inception, I'm sure she was daily told the dangers of Al Qaeda, and how my lack of blind support of the war, and thus my lacking patriotism and support of the troops, were the very things endangering millions of Americans each day. One to the most difficult things for me, in this post-9/11 era, is the fear mongering. Terror Alerts (in NYC always a constant orange), daily updates on what terror plots have been foiled, and the knowledge that anything--shoe, toothpaste, library book--can be turned into a bomb is said to keep us informed, allow us to be involved in our own defense. But this information really just serves to keep us afraid, so we will not say what we are thinking when the clouds part of a brief moment. Danger is always present. This is nothing new. Constant suspicion and panic only make it easier for us to hate each other.


MS Walk.

Next Sunday, I, along with others from CCfB, will participate in New York City's MS Walk. This is part of what CCfB has come to refer to as our Hands and Feet Projects, called such because they are part of our attempt to be the hands and feet of Christ to our community and our world. There's still time to sign up if you'd like to walk with us, and of course any donations would be greatly appreciated.



I vividly remember the day I got my first pet, a cat named Socks (Socksina for a bit as we thought it was a girl cat). My sister and I were walking home from a friend's house and these two cats "followed" us home. We then proceeded to make them a bunk bed out of boxes, and then be frustrated with the lack of appreciation they showed for our stellar accomodations. We awoke the next morning to find only one cat, and he lived with us, and then with my grandmother, for many years. But as I have gotten older, I have gotten either more allegic, or less unabashed in my love for things that will quickly make my eyes swell shut. It is a sad state of affairs.

So last night, I was having dinner with my friend Nathan at his apartment, when we were visited by a lovely calico cat, meowing at the window, hoping to be let in. We said "No. I'm sorry. We are too, too allergic to you, despite all of your cuteness." But then the unexpected happened. We were sitting in the living room studying, Nathan for Chemistry class and me for my licensing exam, when it got a bit hot in there. So Nathan opened the back door. A short time later, there was a thud, and Nathan says "I think that's the cat." And before I could respond, I saw a black tail poking out from behind a chair. Nathan's reaction was far more logical than mine. He jumped up and began to wonder what it was we were going to do with this cat in the living room. I, however, was transported and quickly became my 6 year-old self. I jumped up from my chair, and with greater joy than I have felt in some time, picked up the cat. Not in a "Wow, I've gotta get you out of here." way, but in an "Oh, look...a kitty." sort of way. I stood in the living room holding and talking to the cat for a few seconds, Nathan standing agape across the room. But then he was jealous, and wanted to hold the cat, too. She purred on cue and mewed just right to get us to find her some food. Then my senses came back to me and I made her eat it outside. About five minutes later the coughing, sneezing and itching began. But we both agreed it was well worth it. We've named her Stella.


Reunited (2).

Last night I had a dream about my high school reunion that again confirmed that I probably should sit this one out. In the dream, my best friend (who didn't go to high school with me) and I decided to go to this very large mental health clinic for some sort of community support group. Support from/for what I don't know. And then Nathan was suddenly gone and I was there alone and people I knew in high school kept popping up. I was like "What are all of you doing here...at this mental health place...in Brooklyn?" And they were apalled that I didn't know that this was our high school reunion. I spoke with people who I have not seen or thought about probably since high school graduation, and knew an amazingly lot about their lives. And then my 2nd grade best friend, Heather, who I also went to high school with, walks in with her mother (who was the ultimate band mom, and who used to let me spend the night at their house on Fridays in the 2nd grade). I was really excited to see them since this was a friendship I always valued a great deal. And then her mother starts yelling at me about how I'm responsible for all of the troubles they've had, though I've seen or spoken to none of them since Heather's wedding in 2000. It was just as confusing in the dream as it is now upon waking. That's some serious reunion anxiety rearing it's ugly head.



I have come to believe that it is the 6th month of winter that gives NYC its reputation for rudeness. We're cold for so much longer than should ever occur, and are taunted by days, like today, when it is sunny outside and looks like it should be July, thus resulting in a foul mood lasting through about mid-May. Yesterday, I made the mistake of going to the 34th street post office, and then trying to kill sometime in that area. This is my least favorite area of the City, recently surpassing Canal Street. In a period of 15 minutes, I was directly, deliberately elbowed out of the way and then called a "dumb bitch" for the fact that I was walking on that particular stretch of sidewalk and did not jump into oncoming traffic to avoid the woman walking down the street eating a whole chicken. Oh, New York....how we love you.


The Voice of Practicality.

I have always been a creative person. Since I learned how to write, I have wanted to be a writer. I have only been published once (aside from my newspaper and yearbook writing years) and that was when I won the Corpus Christi Caller-Times
Halloween story contest in the fourth grade. [The story was about two sisters who dressed up as a witch and broom to go Trick-Or-Treating, but the witch got hurt and the broom had to go out alone, thereby being mistaken for a real broom by a witch, who then rode her all over the world. My friends in college had a field-day with that one.]

I have scores of stories and essays, plays and poems I have written since about age 8, ranging from a kitten cheating on his math test to the play I wrote after college about temps. When I decided that I no longer wanted to teach, it was because I wanted to write. But now I find my spring of creativity somewhat dried up. I can log-on here to rant and rave, and tell funny stories, until the proverbial cows come home, but everything creative turns on me. A few months ago, I started writing a story about the girl who allows the Communist Manifesto to guide her life, complete with manifesto-dipping. But less than a page in, I found myself ranting about the need for universal health care and free education for all.

When I was packing to move last week, I found a box of notebooks and folders that I had kept from college. In it were the materials from a creative writing class I took my last year of college. It was an amazing experience. My professor, David Wevill, was wonderful and so encouraging. He even defined my genre for me (a mix between high fiction and "fiction of the streets"). I found a folder full of work by my very gifted classmates, and the notebook I wrote all of my drafts in (mostly done in Physics class, as I believed vectors were a lost cause). And it sounds terribly conceited, but I was shocked at how talented I was then. I think I had just found a balance between angst and realism.

I told myself when I decided to go to social work school (because I couldn't afford to be sporadically employed) that social work would be my day job. That when I finished, I would do writing workshops and finally publish something. But now that I am doing it, I find it all-consuming. I can't shake the voice of practicality always humming in my ear, "What will this change? Nothing will come of it. Help those people. You need health insurance." This isn't intended to be my pity party, but simply me stating the facts of my reality. Maybe someday I'll win the lottery that I have never played, or I'll find the benefactor I've been hoping for, and practicality won't have so much to say.


A Long Way Gone.

I've been reading a book called A Long Way Gone: Memoirs of a Boy Soldier. It's about a boy who was a child soldier in Sierra Leone. It is terrifying. In an address to the UN, the boy, Ishmael, says "It was not easy being a soldier, but we just had to do it. I have been rehabilitated now, so don't be afraid of me. I am not a soldier anymore; I am a child." I can't imagine such a life, but know that it happens all over the world, even in the United States.

I have a friend here in New York, who has lived here his whole life, and grew up in the neighborhood where I used to live before gentrification made it safe. He told me stories about being attacked and robbed by older kids. About having to drop out of school because he was not safe there. About playing a game with his little brother, where they walked down the street counting all the crack vials.

I read and hear these things and I am shaken. I am fairly certain that I would not have had the will to survive in such a world. I want to know when it will end, and why atrocities such as this continue to occur when the world has the means to stop it.


On Moving...

Just like I know roommates, I also know moving. They're connected I guess. I come from a family of movers. That I remember, I have moved 18 times. The place I moved from this weekend is the place I have lived the longest, second only to the house my parents still live in (which I lived in for 6 years). This move has been particularly strenuous. It has resulted in a poop-load of boxes, a much need thinning out of my wardrobe, several bags of trash, some decent (and not so decent) furniture left on the curb, heaps of reflection on the past 4 years, and a rather heated telephone fight with my best friend (sorry, love). It is amazing to think how much stuff--physical and emotional--one building can hold. Now I'm here in the new digs. I heart my new apartment. My new roommate is great. Yea new apartment!